One of the little things I enjoy about cruising is the leapfrogging we do with the same several boats travelling the same route as us. Some may pass us in the morning before we move on, but we'll overtake them when they stop for shopping, and then they'll pass us again while we're having lunch. There may be another pass after they moor for the night, but often we'll share a mooring. We're currently doing that with four craft. We'll probably lose some and gain others when we get to Fradley Junction tomorrow.
It was a peaceful, beautiful stretch of canal onwards from Bridge 50. We met very few other boats. The countryside is very green and lush, oak trees becoming common now, and in larger and larger patches of woodland. The clouds paint the sky, and poppies smear the fields.
Polesworth, then Tamworth,
where there's a pair of locks. Glascote Locks.
And it was a very busy pair of locks today, with boats in both directions having to wait their turn to pass through, though this did have the advantage that, if everyone took it in turns, we were all able to "take the water" of the boat in the lock in front of us as it left its lock and approached the one we were leaving.
Note to self: Avoid commenting on people's dogs. At the top lock, I asked a dog-owning boater what breed her rather handsome dog was, and she immediately regaled me with tales of the poor creature's medical history. Most recently, "His testicles all swelled up", as did "all his eyes". ALL of them! A remarkable dog indeed. A Schnauzer, I finally discovered.
There was a hire-boat going down the locks ahead of us. A family group on holiday, their first time on the canals, and loving it. They'd only been out since yesterday morning, and this was their first lock. The mum who'd been sent out from the boat to "do" the locks admitted to not having a clue. I was glad to help her, of course, but why, oh why did the boat hire company, Valley Cruises, not make sure someone on the boat knew?
On from Glascote Locks, and a slow meander through attractive housing, the canal overhung by huge willows. Out came my secateurs. Well, someone has to keep the overhang short! It's very attractive to look at, but it can be a serious impediment to the view of the skipper!
This is a canal of white geese and ducks. Just like those in books for children in days of yore. The ones whose ducklings are yellow, like the plastic ones made for the bath. (What do you mean, you don't have one?!)
The mallards, more common elsewhere, are still here, but they seem to be getting bigger. And darker of feather. What are they? we wonder.
Next stop was for lunch, not a pretty, quiet spot, but timely.
Then on to Fazeley Junction, the meeting of the Coventry and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canals. Here we stopped for services, me filling the water tank and disposing of rubbish while Grace visited the not-too-distant Tesco Express for basic provisions.
On we went, back into the countryside, and, at the end of our day's cruise, as we moored amongst very attractive country homes in the village of Hopwas, we were leapfrogged by NB Constance May, who tied up ahead of us.